Various Artists

Georgia Blues (1928-1933)

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The Atlanta blues scene of the 1920s was among the most fertile in all the South, with a steady stream of rural musicians converging on the city hoping to gain exposure playing the local club circuit, with any luck rising to perform at Decatur Street's famed 81 Theatre; Georgia Blues 1928-1933 assembles sides from some of the era's most prominent artists, among them Curley Weaver, Fred McMullen and harpist Eddie Mapp. Far and away the best-known of the featured artists, Weaver is captured at the dawn of his career; on his first sides, among them "No No Blues," he sounds remarkably like fellow Atlanta bluesmen the Hicks brothers. The little-known McMullen is the wild card here, a slide guitarist also noted for his picking finesse; of his seven tracks, the best is "DeKalb Chain Gang," a cut so vividly harrowing it seems undoubtedly autobiographical.

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